Ethel is finally in Huntsville!
Dated: July 16th, 1911
Addressed to: Dear Noah (Noah Clement Draper, Grand Coulee, Sask.)
Mailed from: Huntsville, Ont.
Profession: Farmer's Daughter
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, blue ink
Written on: Off-white, beautifully textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 7 inches, folded in half with a red carnation motif. This is standard early 20th century notepaper, pre-folded in booklet form. Ethel has written on the pages in order from 1 to 4.
People/places mentioned in this letter:
- Uncle John - **John Winter - husband of *Sarah Elizabeth Glover, sister of Ethel's ma
- Pa - *James Henry Nelson
- Mr & Mrs. Taylor - Huntsville residents
- Mrs Bradley - Huntsville resident
- **Chris Willoughby
- *Elva Mitchell - see last weeks Genealogy Notes as well as Label list
- Mr John Warriner (Ethel spells it Warner) (John Warriner died recently)
- *Washago - south of Huntsville
- *North Bay - north of Huntsville
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right side column for more posts on this
person/place/thing. If you don't see a label, use the search box at the top of page.
** see Genealogy Notes below
July 16. 1911.
Rec'd your letter
on Griday as luck would have
it. "eh" Glad you are still so
you can be hard at it. Well
here I am way up here. I left
home yesterday about half past
seven. and got here about
half past three. Uncle John was.
at the station to meet me.
he had a row boat there. and
so I had a good boat ride first
of all. The thing I like best of all.
Nothing i like better but to be
on the water.
We had our barn raising
on Tuesday. Everything went
along fine. About 150 were
there, Pa did the framing
himself. Mr John Warner was
to have done it.
Greatest old place here for
a good time. Uncle John will
keep you laughing all the time
The river is just about 20 rods
from their door. The boats are
running all the time Sundays too.
Hav'nt been out any where
to-day. Mr & Mrs Talyor are
coming here to-night and a
Mrs Bradley is here now. but
I would like to see someone a
great deal better. "eh"
Say i certainly would not
want to live down near
Washago. Yesterday when I
was coming up. of all the old
Shacks we passed. I don't
know how many families
were living in onehouse. Uncle
John was telling that up to North
Bay. there is 2 families living
in 1 hut about 8x10. (haha)
Aunt Sarah is just talking about our
fire, it reminds me did I ever tell you
how. how we heard our barn was
fired. Some one said Manuel was
trying to set a hens tail afire. Iguess
that hen would run some "eh".
Mr Chris Willoughby was to our place
the day of our raising. he said he saw
Elva Mitchell while he was up West.
was he up to your place. He says there
is a lot of bachelors up there and
they want him to ship up a car
load. he said he wanted me to
go when he had some more girls
ready. He's quite a joker, "eh". Well
you were defeated "eh" Say you said
they won that time you did nt go
I wonder if you had better stay at
home next time. "ha ha" Oh you know
me, dont you don't think of anything I say.
Goodbye from your lonesome Sweetheart.
I'd love to see you just now. Ethel xxxxxxxx
Genealogy Note 1: Uncle John and Aunt Sarah
Ethel is staying in Huntsville in the District of Muskoka at the house of her ma's sister, Sarah Elizabeth Glover who married John Thomas Winter in 1901. John and Sarah lost one son in 1906 a week after his 1st birthday. The doctor wrote on the death record that he "never did well in life. Just failed to thrive and didn't grow." In 1911 Uncle John and Aunt Sarah have 9 yr old Ernest, and 1 yr old Mabel.
Uncle John's grandparents, John Winter and Jane Gilbert were in their mid-twenties when they left Lincolnshire, England in 1851 and emigrated to Canada with their infant son, Reuben. They stopped in York County, Ontario and had 5 more children.
In 1868, the Free Grants and Homestead Act of 1868 passed into law which opened up the District of Muskoka to settlement. The 1881 Canada census shows Uncle John's grandparents and their children as residents of Muskoka. Since latter Census records show them living in the village of Huntsville in Chaffey Township, I went looking for a map.
Uncle John picked Ethel up at the Huntsville train depot and they took a rowboat to Aunt Sarah's. But where did they live? Jane Winter's land is close, but the blue lines which designate water routes are mere streams. Reuben's and William's land has a great river route, but it's about 15 miles from Lake Vernon - not including all the twists and turns - which seems way too far for Uncle John and Ethel's rowboat.
Genealogy Note 2 - Chris Willoughby
Ethel wrote that Chris Willoughby, a friend of the family, was at her pa's barn raising and he said he saw Elva Mitchell while out west. Here's what I discovered about this man who teased Ethel about shipping her out west with a carload of girls...
Chris Willoughy and his wife, Lois were farmers in North Gwillimbury until they retired in 1901. But Lois died in 1908 leaving Chris alone at 78 years of age. When the census was taken in June 1911, Chris is found boarding near Indian Head, Saskatchewan which is where he saw Elva Mitchell.
Chris is listed as a farmer on the census, but he seems to be a recruiter for the prairie farmers who were scrambling for workers to harvest one of the biggest grain crops in Canadian history.
Although I couldn't find a newspaper notice or obituary on Chris, I found his death record that shows he died on Sep 19th, 1913 in Keswick, Ontario after suffering 2 months of gangrene.
I don't know about you, but the story of Chris Willoughby and his lonely demise just makes me sad.